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Song Of Ceylon

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Song Of Ceylon


Published 1934


Bizarre "documentary" of "primitive" life in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Commentary consists of excerpts from Robert Knox "An Historical Relation of Ceylon", written in 1681.


Run time 37 minutes
Producer Basil Wright
Production Company GPO Film Unit, Great Britain
Audio/Visual sound, black and white
Language English

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Reviews

Reviewer: Jaanaka - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 21, 2011
Subject: finally found
I have heard about this movie and wanted to watch .....and finally found it here........
Reviewer: nycmoviemaker - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 10, 2009
Subject: Famous ethnographic film
I am curious as to why the person who uploaded this film described it as "bizarre." Such a description is unfair. Song of Ceylon is considered a "prototype of the impressionistic vignette film," and was made by John Grierson and Basil Wright for the Ceylon Tea Propaganda Board in 1934. Grierson is considered by many to be the "father of documentary film," perhaps because he first used the term in reference to non-fiction film that was not solely ethnographic film. Obviously, Song of Ceylon is not like most of the documentaries we see today. It is an mythopoetic film which set out to celebrate the people of Ceylon and comment on how the production of tea was changing their culture. However, this film isn't quite able to escape Eurocentric romanticizing of its the subjects and their way of life, since the filmmaker narrates and uses old text from a Western writer, without allowing teh Ceylonese to speak for themselves. It was criticized by ethnographers and intellectuals as being "too arty." Nevertheless, the film is beautiful, rhythmic, lyrical and captures a place and time which should be appreciated.
Reviewer: pokute - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 16, 2008
Subject: Notes on the rip
This 400 Mb Divx/AC3 file was ripped from a VHS tape of unknown provenance. The source was hard-telecine, and very dark. I was able to pullup and deinterlace it, and I also normalized the luminance somewhat. This 1200 kbps avi file looks a good deal better than the original tape!
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